In 2018, augmented reality established itself as a technology to be taken seriously.
B2B businesses are beginning to take note and see the value of this future-looking technology. In fact, augmented reality is expected to generate $120 billion in revenue for businesses by 2020. Early adopters are getting ahead by using it to transform their digital experience.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR)– AR is a type of interactive, reality-based display environment that takes the capabilities of computer generated display, sound, text, and effects to enhance the user’s real-world experience. The technology super imposes computer-based scenes and images over the real-world physical environment to deliver a unified but enhanced view of the world.
While the common uses of AR, like video games, are more well known, the advances and potential disruption that it brings to B2B businesses is massive.
Here are two ways that B2B businesses can take advantage of augmented reality to improve the user experience and streamline processes in 2019.
2 Ways B2B Businesses Are Using Augmented Reality
B2B Businesses Are Using Augmented Reality as a Selling Tool
One of the long-standing challenges of B2B is in the sale of complex products and services. For some, that means that the products may not fit on a shelf or even in a meeting room, let alone make sense on a website.
Traditionally, during a sales pitch, the only way to showcase these large or complicated products was through pictures or videos. Even with a movie-quality presentation, it’s still a tough sell because the actual product isn’t in front of the prospect.
B2B buyers oftentimes have a hard time committing to a product because they can’t experience the full effect of what they’re being sold.
That’s where augmented reality comes in.
Augmented reality helps to fill the void for the customer – allowing them to touch, feel, and see a product in front of them without the product actually being there. Through the use of the technology, they can even see the product in the physical space it would be used Being able to see the products in the actual space that they are considering them, greatly decreases any hesitation for the usually expensive B2B purchase.
B2B Businesses are using Augmented Reality as a Training Tool
One of the most innovative, and least talked about applications of augmented reality is in training.
Factory workers are wearing augmented reality wearable devices to superimpose the production-assembly or service instructions directly on the line.
By superimposing the digital manuals and instructions directly in the real environment, people are able to process the physical and digital information simultaneously. This improves the ability to rapidly absorb information and execute tasks.
For example, at Boeing, augmented reality training has had a dramatic impact on the productivity and quality of complex aircraft manufacturing procedures.
In one Boeing study, augmented reality was used to guide trainees through the 50 steps required to assemble an aircraft wing section involving 30 parts. With the help of augmented reality, trainees completed the work in 35% less time than trainees using traditional 2-D drawings and documentation. And the number of trainees with little or no experience who could perform the operation correctly the first time increased by 90%.
This application of augmented reality is used in other parts of the manufacturing process too, in things like building and inspecting. Typically, manufacturing processes are time-consuming and labor intensive. By using augmented reality, B2B businesses can reduce the time it takes to complete the process.
In fact, B2B businesses that use augmented reality for manufacturing tasks see a time savings of 25% or more.
With augmented reality, B2B businesses have the opportunity to utilize technology to streamline complex business processes.
It’s easy to see why augmented reality is one of the latest trends to turn into a viable investment for B2B businesses. Companies that choose to invest in augmented reality early will be the ones to fully reap the benefits.
It’s technologies like these that influenced our predictions for B2B eCommerce in 2019. If you’re curious as to what’s ahead, download your own copy.